Brits will be able to go on holiday to a new list of 75 countries without needing to quarantine when they return to the UK, according to new reports.
The news comes following the government ditching the plans to create ‘air bridges’, which were going to make travelling between two countries which have similarly low levels of coronavirus easier.
The full list of countries will be published by the government today or tomorrow, and will see the lifting of the Foreign Office’s ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations plus many others.
The 75 countries listed have been deemed sufficiently low-risk destinations for holidaymakers based on their COVID-19 levels, a declining infection rate and that their data can be trusted.
From Monday, travellers to 75 countries will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days when they return to the UK.
Instead, the air bridges will be replaced with a traffic light system which will decide which nations are safe, a move which has been massively welcomed by the travel and aviation industry.
‘Green’ or ‘Amber’ countries will not require 14 days isolation on returning to the UK, but ‘Red’ countries will.
Many popular holiday destinations will be found on the list, such as Croatia, Turkey, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Iceland, Poland, Malta, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Slovenia, Slovakia and Germany.
However, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, has this week she reserved the right to quarantine English visitors. Likewise, Ireland is expected to publish its own ‘Green’ list of countries and has already indicated that Britons could be forced to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
Some countries like Australia and New Zealand are expected to retain border controls and impose quarantine until the end of the year.
The USA, Russia and Brazil are among the list of ‘Red’ countries where non-essential travel will continue to be banned.
Sweden, which tops the tables in the EU for coronavirus cases, is expected to be classed as Red, as with Portugal due to a recent outbreak in and around the capital, Lisbon.
Despite this being welcomed by the travel industry, some government officials have claimed creating a specific list of countries exempt from quarantine poses a ‘diplomatic nightmare’ and could open ‘legal challenges’, according to The Telegraph.
These officials have proposed a list that expands on the Foreign Office’s travel advice to include high-risk countries where Britons should refrain from travelling to instead.
Henry Smith, chair of the cross-party Future of Aviation group, said: “This has been done in a very piecemeal way and with a degree of uncertainty. I still think the introduction of quarantine was not the right decision but we are where we are.
“We need to get a set of criteria and subsequent list of countries published. Every day of uncertainty translates into more jobs lost.”
What do you think, are you planning on travelling or waiting a little longer?
Benidorm launches cheap seven-night package holiday scheme including food and drink for just £180
This looks great…
You can stay for a week in Benidorm with food included for just £180 in the new scheme.
The ban on travel throughout the lockdown has caused the popular holiday destination to suffer, enhanced by the 14-day quarantine after travelling.
The new scheme in the resorts, starting on October 14th, gives tourists a choice of where to stay and where to eat in the seven-night deal.
The only thing you’ll have to arrange on your own is your flights out to Benidorm, but deals start at £200 a return ticket.
The scheme has been launched by two trade associations, Abreca and Cobreca representing bars and restaurants plus Rosemberg Real Estate Agency and the Nicaragua Apartments.
They said in a statement: “This project is the result of the essential synergy between all the business sectors of the city and it will be a pioneer in Europe offering visitors to enjoy all the gastronomic offer of our city.
“The tourist will have a complete experience of Benidorm, being able to stay in apartments of Real Estate Rosemberg or Apartments Nicaragua and have breakfast, lunch and dinner in any bar, restaurant and cafeteria member of Abreca and Cobreca and adhered to this project.
Benidorm could also be launching the new ‘Benidorm Island’ scheme which hopes to create an effective ‘island’ on mainland Spain.
It will encourage Brits to the resort, offering testing and new safety features like a ‘safe’ coach that transfers holidaymakers directly to their holiday accommodation from the airport.
In the day a ‘Hospitality Team’ would monitor the tourist’s health.
Currently Brits must self-isolate for two weeks after returning from Spain plus other countries on the list.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay confirmed the new measures that will include swabbing at the airport.
Mr Barclay explained: ““I am expecting Grant Shapps and Matt Hancock to say more about this in the coming days.
“If we look, for example, at some of the German states, which are using testing to then release earlier from some of the restrictions.”
The current two-week quarantine period could be reduced to four days with two mandatory tests.
This week, a duo from Ashton-under-Lyne returned from Spain and refused to isolate and were both lumped with £1,000 fines.
People visiting Wales from Greater Manchester might have to self-isolate for two weeks on arrival
Visitors travelling into Wales from areas in the UK with high rates of coronavirus might have to self-isolate on arrival, according to the Welsh government.
Welsh authorities are deliberating the possibility of enforcing the restrictions currently used on international arrivals on arrivals from people across the UK, including from Greater Manchester.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said in a press conference on Monday: “We’re actively considering what we should do and I’ve discussed it this morning with the First Minister.
“We have quarantine regulations for international travel.
“So for some of the hotspot areas in the north of England, the North East and North West, and the West Midlands, if they were other countries or territories, we would have quarantine regulations for them to return to the UK.”
He added: “We’re having to consider how we use our power to protect lower-prevalence areas of Wales but at the same time, we don’t want to take a whole-nation approach.
“There’s no good reason to prevent someone from Devon, at this point in time, coming to visit a pre-booked holiday or trip to Pembrokeshire.
“So we are thinking about how we use something that is proportionate and deals with the reality of the threat that we face.”
The decision will be made later today, Gething added: “We’ll need to take some advice from our scientific and medical advisers, public health advisers, and we’ll then need to consider whether this is the right course of action.
“Because the measures we’ve introduced in Wales are about isolating areas with a higher prevalence of coronavirus and protecting lower prevalence areas too.
“It’s consistent with the approach that all four UK nations have taken to international travel and quarantine restrictions, where we recognise that higher prevalence areas in other parts of the world represent a risk to coronavirus being reimported or having an opportunity to spread further within the UK.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford sent a letter to Boris Johnson asking for travel restrictions to apply to areas of England under local lockdown, however, Gething explains that it is ‘disappointing’ he has not replied.
Gething added: “Over the last month, we’ve seen a rapid increase in cases across Wales – the virus returned as people came home from holiday abroad and has been spread also as people socialised without social distancing crucially and most often in people’s home.
“The majority have had a mild illness so far. But an increase in cases is followed within two to three weeks by higher hospital admissions, higher critical care admissions and more deaths.”
Luxury safari lodges where you can see elephants from your bed to open down the road from Manchester
Some exciting news to look forward to…
These luxury safari lodges will give you an up-close and personal overnight wildlife experience like no other available in the UK next year.
There will be eight lodges, six of which will look over elephant habitats while two will look over views of majestic cheetahs.
The lodges are set to open on West Midland Safari Park, just two hours drive from Manchester, next year.
They will be decorated along with the safari theme, including thatched roofs and a strong neutral palette. The lodges will also have open-plan living with a dining area, bedrooms and a bathrom, complete with terraces to enjoy the views.
Upstairs will see a bedroom which will offer spectacular views across the elephant habitats, and guests will be encouraged to make use of their outdoor terrace to enjoy their meals.
There will also be floor-to-ceiling windows so you can get up close and personal with the animals from the comfort of your sofa or bed.
Guests will be treated to extra perks like chefs to cook meals, free admission to the safari park and attractions plus exclusive views of the animals.
Park bosses are anticipating a new open date in February, after it was pushed back due to the pandemic.
The newly appointed Accommodation & Venues Director said: “This amazing project will grow into something spectacular over the next four to five years, but to start with we are focussing on the elephants and cheetahs.
“Not only will the new lodges offer guests the opportunity to stay onsite overnight for the first time, they also allow us to create upgraded, stimulating and enriching environments for the animals.
“Conservation is at the forefront of our minds when designing and building the lodges, so as part of this project, our net biodiversity gain will increase by 30%, creating more habitats such as woodlands and wildflower meadows, encouraging native wildlife.
“Revenue from the lodges will support improving the facilities for more of the Park’s amazing animals, as we work towards the next phases of development.”
You can find more info on the website here.